Continued from page 1

Coaches do, though. Win a national title and you’re set for life, as Auburn’s Gene Chizik discovered when he signed a new deal during the offseason that could be worth up to $4.5 million a year. That put Chizik in the upper stratosphere of coaches, along with the likes of Mack Brown of Texas ($5 million a year) and Nick Saban of Alabama ($4.7 million).

The new coach at Arizona probably won’t get that much, but it’s safe TV money will help get him something north of $3 million with some incentives. That might prove attractive to someone like Chris Petersen, who now labors for $1.5 million a year at Boise State, just above the $1.24 million the NCAA said was the median pay for FBS head coaches in 2009.

Whoever is hired will head to Arizona knowing that the window of opportunity for winning will narrow even more with a big salary. By firing Stoops now _ even after a 1-5 start _ Arizona made it clear that the rules have changed when it comes to winning.

That’s probably what promoted Bob Stoops _ the Oklahoma coach who happens to be Mike’s brother _ to warn coaches to be careful about the job they choose “or you’ll end up like my brother.”

Not that Mike Stoops will be applying for food stamps anytime soon. His contract not only paid him handsomely, but he’s leaving with another $1.4 million to tide him over until he gets his next job.

That could come at Oklahoma, where he coached with his brother before getting the head job at Arizona. Bob Stoops, whose team is undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the country, said earlier this week that just might happen.

“Sure. I mean, if I’ve got enough money to,” Brother Bob said.

Consider it a done deal. Because, among the elite in college football these days, money is never a problem.


Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at) or